Monthly Archives: November 2016

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Movie Trailer – DxM

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Andrew Goth

Starring: Tom Payne, Sam Neill, Dominique Tipper

Release: March 2017

DxM, Mindgamers, whatever this movie is called, it definitely does not look good.  And that’s a pity, because there looks to be Matrix-like work & time put into the story, the CGI, and the illusions.  Actually, and this is funny, Andrew Goth’s last film was Gallowwalkers, a terrible Wesley Snipes movie about vampires and the Wild West.  It was as bad as it sounds, and my review of that movie might be my only claim to fame, as I’m quoted on its Wikipedia page.  Anyway, stay away from this movie; it will not be good.


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DVD Review – Vampyres

Category : DVD Review

Director: Victor Matellano

Starring: Veronica Polo, Christian Stamm, Marta Flich

Year: 2015

When lesbian vampires are the base of the premise for your movie, you know you’ve done something …right?  I mean, of course that’s ridiculous, but it’s actually so insane that it just might work, one of those campy ideas that’s so incredibly stupid it might just be genius.  And this concept has been carried out before to cult success, in Joseph Larraz’ original 1974 version of Vampyres by the same name, a much-loved horror flick that doesn’t pretend to be the next great Oscar winner.  What’s funny is that these women aren’t really lesbians, nor are they strictly vampires, but rather some odd, sexual, undead, mash up of legends and fears and fantasies.  I hope this introduction successfully prepares you for the oddity of this movie, but also for the potential for fun inherent to its plot; how much or how little enjoyment you get from it by the end being absolutely unpredictable.

The Movie

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When Harriet and her friends decide to camp near an abandoned chateau in the woods, they may experience more than they bargained for.  They only wanted to pitch a tent, commune with the surroundings, write some prose, delve into a little history, but when a pair of their compatriots don’t show up on schedule, they begin to wonder if the area is as safe as they assumed.  Soon, Harriet is seeing wandering figures, conversing with a panicked man, and fearing for the lives of her friends, as the terror of the house and its inhabitants begins to soak into her very soul.  This strange man who stumbled across the camp may hold the key to whatever is happening here, if only he survives long enough to share it.

The mysterious man, Ted, had been staying at a local hotel before venturing into the woods, in search of who knows what.  But he’s found something exciting, although not altogether safe.  He meets a beautiful and suspiciously casual woman named Fran who claims the old house as her own, saying that she’s living there with a friend named Miriam.  The two are close, and often have friends over for dinner.  Well, Ted is about to find out exactly what these vague terms mean first hand, something that will not be very pleasure.  Not that there won’t be perks; two open-minded, voluptuous women are two open-minded, voluptuous women after all.  But the death count will rise sooner rather than later, you can count on that.

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I’m not sure where to start, and I have to admit that I haven’t seen the 1974 original, although I have stumbled across several Jesus Franco films, so I’m fairly accustomed to these Spanish directors and their penchant for boobs and blood.  There is a certain enjoyable atmosphere to this genre, a certain disregard for the conventional and a complete reckless abandon that’s rather refreshing.  They want blood pouring out into a bath, they get blood pouring out into a bath.  They want a threesome with two insatiable vampires, they get a threesome with two insatiable vampires.  These filmmakers deny themselves nothing, and that actually works to the film’s benefit, allowing it to be as insane as it wants, letting us love it anyway.

Now, I’ll stop before calling this film a masterpiece, because it is absolutely anything but.  The story makes very little sense, the characters are ridiculous, the acting is terrible, the sets are boring, even the nudity is mediocre, and I doubt there’s a single element you could pull out and call great.  No, the quality of this movie lies within its inherent style, the ability to jump the shark without a look down to see where you might land.  It takes balls to make something so silly, especially a remake of something that was already so silly, to a potentially famous point, at least in an underground sense.  As long as you know what you’re in for, there’s an entertaining air here, at least for those who have already bought into the genre.

The DVD

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Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the video quality of this film is minimally adequate.  It’s not as grainy or poor as its 70s counterparts, but it’s also nothing vivid and wonderful to excite comment.  At least the blood, death, sex, and action scenes were done with acceptable amounts of gore and style, so the picture quality itself becomes a moot point.

Audio – The DVD was done in English 5.1 Surround, with an option of 2.0 Stereo.  Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, and Spanish.  The audio quality of the film is about as lackluster as the video, though the background music is at least something interesting.  Otherwise, the sound quality is fine but not wonderful, and won’t stand out.

Extras – There are a few special features on the disc.  Making of Vampyres is a 12-minute behind-the-scenes segment.  Interview with Caroline Munro is a 3-minute sit down with the actress, a veteran of 70s and 80s camp.  Lastly, there are seven trailers available: Vampyres, Fever, The Perfect Husband, Observance, The Fostering, Counter Clockwise, Der Bunker.

Final Thoughts

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Rent It.  Did you watch the original?  Do you like Victor Matellano, Jesus Franco, and that ilk?  Have you surreptitiously enjoyed your fair share of low budget horror flicks where the only positives to look forward to are copious amounts of red-dyed goop and pale hippie bosoms?  Well then, this one’s for you, and don’t feel embarrassed about having some simple fun watching some simple garbage.  This genre was made for a reason, and you can be assured that you’re not the only one who has imbibed from time to time.  Hell, I have myself, and there’s something to be said for a film that harbors no pretentious whims whatsoever.  The video here is forgettable, the audio passable, but there are a few extras if you’re thirsty for more.  All in all, a good time easily spent, with no quality to speak of, but absolutely zero shits given.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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Movie Trailer – Barry

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Vikram Gandhi

Starring: Devon Terrell, Ashley Judd, John Benjamin Hickey

Release: December 16th, 2016

I wish the Barack Obama biopic had been put in better hands.  This doesn’t look like much to get excited about.  And it’s a Netflix original, which, I know Netflix is getting better & better, but just doesn’t hold the same sway.  Too bad.  This movie looks far too much like a Big Stone Gap, Hallmark-esque, made-for-TV special, and that’s not good.


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Movie Trailer – Justice League Dark

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Jay Oliva

Starring: Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Jason O’Mara

Release: February 7th, 2017

I’m sure there’s a certain group that this movie appeals to, the DC crowd that just can’t get enough of this team of heroes, and they’ll even be fine with this art form, given their probable penchant for graphic novels.  But that just isn’t me I guess, and while this movie looks cool, I doubt I or a large number of people will end up watching it.


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Movie Review – Trolls

Category : Movie Review

Director: Walt Dohrn, Mike Mitchell

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel

Year: 2016

If Boxtrolls can be seen as animation for the dark, twisted, and artistically inclined audience, Trolls should be labelled as the exact opposite.  It borrows wheelbarrows full of ideas from the former, rolling them into the room as original ideas, something that won’t sit well with those who enjoy Laika and all they work so hard to do.  Sure, there’s some new content brought to the party, there’s music galore to gloss over the flaws, there’s a continuation of the current trend to bring pop songs to the children’s fantasy genre (Epic, Strange Magic).  But the entertainment value of the film can’t completely override the copying of plot, the goofiness of jokes, and the redundancy of theme that you’ll witness if you sit down with your kids to watch a movie that’s a surface good time & not much else.

In the land of the Trolls, all is happy and bright.  They lead simple lives, sing the day away, always stay positive, love each other, give hugs every hour on the hour, and generally enjoy every moment of their precious lives.  But that all ends when the Bergens come, a race of evil, ugly, hapless, joyless, large, lumpy creatures who can’t find happiness for themselves.  They fence in the Troll Tree and begin eating Trolls each year, a tradition that they think is the only way they can ever be fulfilled, consuming gladness instead of producing it themselves.  The Trolls do escape, hiding in the deep forest, and twenty years of peace go by.  But when the Bergens discover the Trolls’ hideaway, when many are captured to become the main course of a feast, it’s up to Princess Poppy and her reluctant friend Branch to save the day.

I can’t lie and say I didn’t have a little fun watching this movie or that I haven’t enjoyed the peppy soundtrack since, but that’s about as far as the positives go, and they can’t conceal the inherent flaws behind the film.  First, Boxtrolls is so much better, so much more interesting and well-made, something for a more advanced audience.  Trolls just doesn’t challenge you at all, it only sparkles, and while that’s fun for a time, it doesn’t last long.  The humor is ultra-silly, the characters are caricatures, and the villain Chef mirrors Archibald Snatcher way too closely.  But then there’s the music, and that’s where the movie will get you.  Good pop choices and cool original music; the soundtrack is where it’s at, Kendrick & Timberlake both being real talents.  Watch with your kids for a few laughs, but don’t expect real magic here; Trolls is all about the sauce, not the meat.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – The Book of Love

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Bill Purple

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel

Release: January 13th, 2017

I have a special place in my heart for Jason Sudeikis, and I actually think he’s a great actor, just check out We’re the Millers or Sleeping with Other People.  But this movie looks terrible.  It’s like a bad Hallmark movie gets a makeover but then it rains and all the crap you just used to cover up the ugliness underneath comes sliding right off.  It’s like they are trying to fool us, but they really, really can’t.  The actresses in this film are terrible, Sudeikis can’t go it alone, and this movie will fail mightily.


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Movie Trailer – The Comedian

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Taylor Hackford

Starring: Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito

Release: January 13th, 2016

Regardless of how it does in the theatres, this movie must have been one hell of a good time for those who made it.  Did you see the names that were popping up right and left?  De Niro, DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Billy Crystal, Charles Grodin, Gilbert Gottfried.  Looks like fun, and who knows if the actual movie will be any good, but maybe it works as an Italian/Jewish version of Top Five.


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Movie Review – Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Category : Movie Review

Director: Mel Stuart

Starring: Peter Ostrum, Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson

Year: 1971

I am now, much more than when I was a young, a big Roald Dahl fan.  When I was a kid, my first exposure to Dahl may very well have been this film, Willy Wonka instead of Charlie, but the same wonderful, magical, mysterious story.  It had been out for years by the time my sister and I got around to seeing it in the late 80s, but that doesn’t mean it had lost any appeal in the interval.  On the contrary, and that’s what makes a classic a classic, it only grew larger with age and with reputation.  Nowadays this film is considered one of the greatest ever made, I think I can say that with some confidence, as I show it to my children for the first time.  I have to imagine it won’t be the last, since they found as much enjoyment in it as I did, and as I still do.

The reclusive Mr. Willy Wonka, the world’s greatest candy man, has been shut up in his factory for years, a place that no one enters and no one is ever seen leaving.  And yet, the factory runs, the chocolate pours out, and children everywhere dream of what it must be like behind those barred gates, what delicious treasures must await anyone who could step inside.  But as quickly as it was closed to the public, Wonka announces that it will soon be open, but only to the lucky finders of five golden tickets, priceless passes hidden somewhere within the packaging of a Wonka Bar.  For young Charlie Bucket, his poverty and his ill grandparents keep him at school & at work, never leaving time for play or for candy.  But perhaps there is some magic left in the world, because as Charlie finds a golden ticket, his wildest imaginations prepare to come to life.

It really is a special story, some piece of our global culture that will never grow old.  And this film version is as much a classic as the book to me, something I grew up loving and will never stop.  I was overjoyed that my kids saw in it the same thing I did, and I’m happy to watch it again with them dozens of times through the coming years.  This film version is slightly different than the book, filled with musical numbers that have basically become legends.  Add in Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and you’ve approached perfection.  Johnny Depp made a modern and much darker version of this tale, which will never compare to this 70s version, not in my book.  No, the magic is here, and it always will be, I’m very thankful to say.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Trailer – Cars 3

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Brian Free

Starring: Owen Wilson,

Release: June 16th, 2017

I enjoyed the other two films (Cars, Cars 2) and I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one as well.  This is a cool universe, a cleverly-made concept, and my kids really enjoy it as well.  Is there a guarantee that all the movies from this world will be good?  Of course not, but I think we can be optimistic.


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Movie Trailer – Smurfs: The Lost Village

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Kelly Asbury

Starring: Demi Lovato, Jack McBrayer, Joe Manganiello

Release: April 7th, 2017

This looks silly.  I’m not sure what else to say, it just looks silly.  I know not everything can be Pixar magic, but this just seems throwaway to me, like it was meant for kids who aren’t willing to try hard and adults who don’t want to watch.  I’m fine with not watching, but I’m not fine with showing my kids random prat falls just because that’s all some of these lesser animation studios can muster up.